Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday (also known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday).  We had pancakes for dinner, even though my faith and my household don't really observe Shrove Tuesday (or the rest of Lent, for that matter).

Despite our lack of strict observance, I do use the time for reflection.  

Can one say, "Happy Ash Wednesday"?  No? Didn't think so.

Ash Wednesday is the First Day of Lent, the forty days before Easter.  Oh, we celebrate Easter! Easter Hymns, Easter Service on Sunday, etc.  Yes, we even go for the Super Long Weekend, here in Australia.  I wisely took the few days off after Easter, because on Friday after, it's ANZAC Day. (More on this later, as this is an even more reflective holiday than Ash Wednesday. Downright sad, sometimes.  Ne'er you mind that I'm using such important holidays to score nearly two weeks off from work.)

So, back to more serious stuff:  I like using the time of Lent for reflection.  I believe not enough people do this, which is why I'm mentioning it here.  Go reflect.  It's scary, but worth it.

It can be a difficult thing to hold a mirror up to oneself and admit one's flaws.   Last year for Lent, I went on a Selfie Spree.  Normally I don't photograph myself unless absolutely necessary.  While selfies are usually considered a selfish pursuit, I used them to have a good, honest look at myself.

Who was I?  Who did I want to be?  What was reflected in my face?

As writers, we're concerned with character development arcs.  Sometimes it's good to take those writerly skills and apply them to ourselves.  Who are we, if we were a character?  What are our strengths, our weaknesses?  What are our goals and motivations? What are our obstacles?

As writers, we tend to throw obstacles in the paths of our characters.  As humans, we do our best to remove our obstacles--assuming we know what they are.

Thus, I reflect.

You ever know someone with an annoying characteristic--something they say or do, some mistake they make over and over?  Have you ever said, "Why on earth don't they change?"  

They might not be aware they are doing it.  We are creatures of habit, we humans. We get into a pattern and a certain part of our brain turns off.  It's not until we stop and consciously question our actions that we can see what we truly do, and can change if we so desire.

I've changed a few things about myself based on last year's reflections.  This year I shall continue to reflect and continue to improve myself.

After all, I am a Romance author and we love our HEAs.

Her Grace has pulled up her socks, girded her loins, shifted into gear and got her act together. Also, it is Cadbury Creme Egg season.

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